tv [untitled] February 7, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EST
how are you dealing with that and how should we deal with that? >> that's an issue, i believe they are talking about the issue of runoff elections right now. they're preparing to address the issue of apoliticability of the move act in a context like that. >> right now the question is open. >> right. by the way, i should note the move act applies to federal elections. >> only federal elections. >> that is a notable caveat. >> president chatman has made it very clear to me that the top priority is to try to run on time. we will do one more question. i know he's a very sought-after speaker and i'm sure will be available to us afterward. secretary. >> if you would -- it's our understanding that the department of justice has advanced amendments. could you give us your reasoning why it's necessary for you to
advance those amendments and what the background is and why you are advancing them? >> we're advancing them, in short, to take a page from the lessons of 2010. we're happy to share all of them with you. the process has hardly begun. and we think the amendments will make the enforcement of the move act that much better. and the reason we're sending them out now to everybody is because i suspect there will be viewpoint diversity. the best way to do it is not to wait until the 11th hour but do it when the clock hasn't even started running yet, so we can have that very open dialogue. and if you don't already have it, i will personally make sure that everybody in this room gets a copy of our proposals. so that we can hopefully over the course -- and immediately, perhaps, set up a working group of sorts so that we can get your feedback on what you like, what you don't like. i've never sent around a series
of proposals where everyone liked 100%. and i'd love to do that. because i suspect you have ideas that we haven't thought about. and that can make it better. i suspect we have ideas that you like and we have ideas that you might not like. i'd love to have that conversation. >> please join me in thanking assistant attorney general general tom perez. >> thank you. >> quite obviously with a very closely watched presidential election upcoming, most of the chief elections officers will be working very closely with the major parties. we are pleased that general council and director of voter protection at the dnc has come back to the afternoon session here to join us. as state officials, we're particularly interested in hearing about voter outreach and engagement efforts by the dnc, we will also have a representative from the rnc and
we're especially interested to hear his role, especially as it relates to director of voter protection. please join me in welcoming will crossley. >> i thank you secretary miller and thank you all for having us back this afternoon. as i did speak briefly this morning, i will endeavor to be fairly brief this afternoon as well. i do want to say that as we enter the 2012 election, we are facing new rules, many of which have been talked about here today, whether they involve photo i.d. or voter registration, new rules
happening in the states, many of these rules, we think the fact is that they will have a disproportionate affect on members of the voting public, who traditionally have been disenfranchised. many of them minorities, either racial or language minorities. to that end, our focus and our goal, one of them anyway, is to ensure that we have an elaborate education program so that states -- in states across the country, voters are fully aware of what the new rules are, how they comply with them, and i was in fact very much encouraged earlier in the earlier session today hearing the secretaries talk about work that you have going on in your respective
states, to ensure that voters are aware of what's happening and able to comply. we hope that that will continue, and we hope that we will see notices going to voters who are likely to be affected. one of the ways that i know states have done this and can do this, is to cross their dmv data bases, state i.d. data bases with their voter registration databases and ensure that voter who is may not have the ids that are recognized are noticed that need has now -- has now come about and that they have an opportunity to do that. let me also just address two
other points, one is, i think that our elections by and large have improved. i think they have improved procedurally, with the rules, but also with an increase or an improvement in the machine and technologies that we use to run our elections. i think there's also been improvement in participation rates and certainly over the last half century or so, a significant improvement in participation rates. and certainly we want those trends to continue. nonpartisan groups have found, as this is a nonpartisan group, have found that many of the laws being advanced or passed in many of your states are either unnecessary to secure the elections, or as i mentioned earlier, will have a greater
impact on some voters, lesser on others, an overwhelming impact on minority voters and in many cases an overwhelming impact on our seniors. and so, i want to encourage that we work together to be able to educate these voters, not just for 2012, but looking forward beyond 2012, i also hope that we can join together, look for ways to improve the voter registration process, in many of the states, the voter registration process is far behind other systems. for tote toe -- photo i.d., for example, where there's a requirement that you have photo i.d., it seems to me that it's unnecessary then to have a completely separate voter registration process where people are required to go twice,
once to register and second to get the i.d. that they need. and so we have been in favor of election day registration as a compliment to the photo i.d. process for those states that have it. we remain in favor of and concerned about cuts to the early vote process in a number of states. we appreciate that not all states have early vote, but those that do, we have seen a tremendous increase in early vote participation, over 2008, in the most recent period, approximately 30% of all voters voted early in that cycle. so certainly for people who have work obligations, or whether they be child care or senior care obligations and may not have the flexibility to participate in that single day, an early vote remains critically important.
and so with that, i will end there. i'm happy to take any questions, i'm certain that there is some disagreement with where we are from a policy standpoint on these questions. but, again, i think that in the end we are all looking to ensure the voters have access and can participate and hope we can work together to ensure that that occurs. thank you. >> thank you very much for being part of -- we're going to save the questions until we have the rnc representative and then we'll do the questions together. as you know, the rnc frequently has their former chair of the rules committee come address nass but he was unable to be here today. he asked that christian adams fill in for him. he is an attorney at the center. he was a former general council
to the south carolina secretary of state and worked as an attorney in the voting section of the department of justice. recently he has served on four different presidential campaigns on ballot acts and issues. christopher can address some of the activities taking place in the states this year, please join me in welcoming christian adams. >> i'm slowly shifting my way for the camera. thank you all. i have the unenviable position of closing your day. there's three things i want to tell you about today that i think will characterize the 2012 election from my perspective that you probably haven't seen before from republicans, and i think you're going to see it and i think it's going to affect the work that you do during the elections. very briefly, the first one is,
you will see an unprecedented social media outreach this year from the republican side that quite honestly was lacking in 2008. the pendulum has sort of swung. while my counterpart's side was very good and effective at social media, internet outreach, in 2008, the other side let's just be frank was not. i think finally the republican side has caught up to this, and you're going to see a very aggressive effort in 2012 to use the internet in a way that frankly imitation is the best form of flattery, and that's the first thing i think you're going to see this year. but the second thing that is going to be different this year involves the move act and 2010, as secretary perez noted, was a warmup year, where everybody was sort of getting their sea legs. but one of the things that
you'll see in 2012 is a lot of groups on the ground in the next few months registering military voters. there is going to be concerted effort, not only for move act enforcement but also for military voter registration on military bases throughout the country, at outposts in towns such as, for example, fayetteville, north carolina, where you have very large military populations. this, once again, has been largely ignored in past elections, those days, i think, are over with. this year you're going to see that. what does this mean for you? it means that you're going to see quite possibly influxes of registrations from groups you've not seen before. there's a group called the military voter protection project that exists primarily for registering military voters, and you may remember they brought a case in maryland last
election involving -- it wasn't actually a move act case. it was a 14th amendment claim, but it looked like a move act case where ballots were mailed out that had state offices on it and not a federal office. so this lawsuit was brought in maryland by the military voter protection project alleging the violation of the 14th amendment, bush v. gore, that the military voters were treated differently than in-state voters that got to vote for everybody but the military voters did not. you see an aggressive move act registration effort among military voters and their families. the third thing you see and the last thing you mention you haven't seen before is a very aggressive effort at section 8 enforcement of nvra. mr. perez spoke about section 7 enforcement, which, of course, is the welfare agency voter
registration provisions, but there's only been one case essentially, united states versus missouri on section 8 enforcement regarding the cleansing and purging of voter rolls. i think that you're going to almost certainly see in this election cycle very aggressive efforts by third-party groups, perhaps with some political affiliation, to bring cases against counties in most instances that are out of compliance with section 8 of nvra. there is a perception, not entirely divorced from reality, that many voter rolls in the country are corrupted with large numbers of dead and ineligible voters. secretary hoseman is not in the room, but there's counties in mississippi have upwards of 120 and 140% of voter registration that aren't allowed to vote. his office is aware of the problem and has fought to get something fixed. mississippi is not the only
place where there's a problem. and that is a situation that a lot of folks on my side of the table view as an utterly intolerable situation heading into november's election. and so the third thing i would -- will close with, i think you'll see that year, is a very aggressive effort to clean up the voter rolls in places where the voter rolls have problems. that's not to say that it's a state problem. as we've heard today, you've heard throughout, very frequently these are county problems that the states can't get solved. i think in large measure that's going to be the approach taken by the parties who bring these cases. so hopefully, just because it's an nvra case in your state, doesn't mean it deals with what you're doing but i think it's almost certainly something you'll see happening this year very shortly. thank you.
>> thank you both, gentlemen, for your presentations, and i know they're ready to field any questions that you may have. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i just had more of a comment than a question to address, a few of the things that mr. crossley had talked about on, especially dealing with reduced and in-person early voting. i just wanted to state for the record we did that in georgia, we went from 41 days to 21. the legislation included a mandatory saturday voting which we haven't had before. the reason that the legislature took that up was because the counties were complaining about the cost of having to have three poll workers in the early voting locations. there was hardly anybody coming in those first two or three weeks, and the legislature really listened to them. we had a very strong bipartisan vote in the house, and i think that's important for people to
realize. i know as i campaigned around the state in many of our counties, a lot of the election boards, when we go into town and visit with elections office, you'd have the republican member and the democratic member of the election board there, and in many counties they both supported reducing the number of in-person days. we still have -- you can vote 45 days before the election by mail. also on the photo i.d. law, we could probably spend a couple days debating that. i will tell you, we're working with an african-american legislator right now who wants to add college i.d.s for institutions that receive public money in georgia to the list of photo i.d.s. the reason she wants to do that is is to help students at predominantly black colleges, and we are supporting her in her efforts on that, and hopefully we get that done this year. i thought it was important to hear those kind of stories that
some of these things, especially on the in-person early voting has been bipartisan and support. >> secretary gessler. >> i would echo those comments. i hope in your analysis you distinguish between early voting, as we in colorado define as in-person poll voting at a polling location versus absentee ballots. in colorado we've seen a huge drop-off in early voting, and that's in large part because we've seen a large increase in absentee voting by mail. so people who may have in the past showed up at a polling place early to vote instead of getting an absentee ballot. so in our nomenclature i hope you recognize when you say early voting, i look at it as polling place voting, and our data is directly opposite yours, at least the view that early voting has increased, whereas it decreased at the polling place.
absentee voting has grown. >> go ahead. >> i wanted to address both of these. one, i appreciate that and welcome the opportunities that states have made and may be making to increase access in terms of allowing additional kinds of i.d.s to count. one of the things that we worked with states in promoting is written and signed affidavits by the voter. if for some reason a person happens to forget their i.d., that they can sign that they are who they say they are, and that they live at their home address, and that information can be used if it turns out there's any regularity there. when we speak of early voting, we do, in fairness, include in
that a host of different kinds of votings and across your different states some have in-person early have inperson e voting and it a mail in process and still called early voting in that state. so we use early vote as the term but it does vary, it does vary from state to state. >> second ritchie? >> thank you, i'm interested in the section 8 because addition to administering the database. most of us are candidates and we have to buy lists, and you do not want to waste a lot of money and time and most of us at some point have called someone and after asking for someone having a long pause and knowing what is coming next that that person has been someone's loved one lost and you get a an appropriately
fairly sharp response and hang up the phone. but what i do not understand, if there's only been one, is there a context that we all could use that information to help leverage the people who would determine if there was money, for example, let's say we want to accelerate our removal of people who have died instead of having to go through the social security death registerty, we could have a midnight exchange of public death records and that would accelerate the policy. we need more than one case to take that to those that control the laws to be able to leverage, especially on the things that matter to us on a personal basis
either as a candidate or a administrator of a state-wide voter registration. >> you are one of the six states that could not possibly be subject to these obligations. >> i would not be beyond ignoring that fact if i had an argument to use with legislators to talk about financing with any improvement. but we could have agreements among states at least on death records. a lot of minnesotans go to the southern states. so this is a different kind of problem. i'm interested the stories that help us convince the people to make these improvements because all of us are interested in clean lists, i mean for all kinds of reasons we want clean lists. >> i've looked at the data
carefully. the spread of it tells me that that is more a county problem than a state problem. that is an instinct. when you have counties in mississippi at 140% and you have laws that mississippi has which take s the power away from the state to do anything about it. i think it's a county problem. that was the central issue of usv missouri, when it got up to the court of appeals, whose problem was it, absent a clear state loin of delynn consideration on authority. it's largely a county problem. >> was that the remedy that was suggested, was on county level? >> it was exactly the opposite. the doj took the approach that it was a state problem and came at it earlier and throughout that this was the attitude of the state department. i face had in the case of us
versus alabama, the question is why aren't the countys reporting the data to the ac, and the answer of course from the justice department's perspective is we only look at the states, so it sort of locks you into a model of resolution that i do not necessarily think is helpful. i will -- obviously this will be in the front and center this year, i mean, you will hear about these cases. so i guess, the question is, what what comes out of it? i can't predict. i think it's a county problem more than a state problem. >> okay. i think -- >> mr. secretary, could i just say one word to that which is we agree actually and would join you in moving toward a cleaner list to the extent that we have
the data that bares out that this is a problem. and so, i don't, i don't think there's a difference of party on this issue and i would say the same thing with respect to your comments on compliance and ensuring that military voters in maryland are able to vote across the ballot, that is something we would absolutely be in favor of as well. and the section seven enforcement that happened under the social service provision of the nvra, is one where there's data baring out that it had in effec in fact registered more voters.
to the extent that there's data that supports the case, i would stand with you on that question. >> we are going to have to wrap up. but one quick last question, ruth? >> thank you. ruth johnson, michigan. one of the problems that we have right now is that the federal government required the dmv to ask if everyone wants to vote if they come to get a driver's license, and now we have nonresidents to get them off the roles. and a man from indonesia because in his country that is his law, did he not know better and he pa faces possible deportation and
and it's impacted him negatively. it helps everyone if we are able to take noncitizens au s off th rolls. >> i mean look, the secretary of state of colorado has looked at this issue with monday citizens, utah found noncitizens voting it's happening. it's reality. i have texas voter registration forms, there's forms in harris county that for a client of mine that that says are you a u.s. citizen and they checked no and were registered to vote. i mean, this is how bad it is. how do you untangle this web is a difficult question, the only tools are section eight in your policy decisions, i am convinced that noncitizens are voting in our elections and that is a dangerous situation. >> so what is the answer?
>> your answer is tougher because i'm not sure how the consent decree is involved in what you are doing. >> we have sent letters out and said if you are a citizen, please ask to get off the list. how effective this is. >> this is a weighty task. there's a question on the citizen check mark. if they do not answer that question, that's a big problem some say you do not register them, and some say register them and wait. you could adopt a policy that allows you to not register them, based on not checking off the box. i suspect the previous speaker may have a differing view on.
that this is a complicated question, the man sitting next to you passed a citizenship verification law. and they found a way to deal with this going forward not necessarily going backwards. >> thank you. >> thank you very much for your presence. we appreciate you taking time to be here and offer thoughts and answer questions. we are going to skip the last piece here because it is know issue that we can handle in our next knch ca-- next conference call, we can discuss that f